OSU Extension Blogs

Exploring your property’s past: a trip back in time

Tree Topics - Wed, 11/08/2017 - 5:51pm

By Amy Grotta,  OSU Forestry & Natural Resources Extension – Columbia, Washington & Yamhill Counties

Old basins found at the Matteson Forest probably belonged to a dairy farmer in the mid-20th century.

Ah, November. The wet and the darkness set in and we feel like turning on the teapot and bundling up. For woodland owners, winter lends an opportunity to catch up on indoor projects: accounting, taxes, and maybe updating or writing a management plan.

Another indoor activity that I guarantee will be more interesting than any of the above is researching and putting together a history of your woodland. It may mean digging through old family files or recording the memories of an elder relative, if your property has been in the family for a while. For those with a newer relationship to their land, it may mean a lot of online research. Either way, it can be a revealing and rewarding process; and by documenting what you learn you will gain a richer connection to  your woodland and ensure this history is not lost to future generations.

Not all woodland owners are history buffs, but fortunately Pat Wheeler, a Benton County Master Woodland Manager, is one of them. After painstakingly researching the history of her own property, she not only shared many of the online resources she used with her Extension agent, but also volunteered (or was arm-twisted?) to write up a history of the Cameron Tract (an OSU Research Forest in Benton County).

Once I learned about Pat’s efforts, I became very intrigued and immediately saw an opportunity to put together a similar document for the Matteson Forest. The donor, Marion Matteson, bequeathed the property to OSU in the his will, and we never had an opportunity to meet him or learn much about his relationship to the property (he had no children). We obtained some information about recent management activity from a distant cousin, and we knew from old aerial photographs and some remnants of foundations and machinery that there had once been a couple of homesteads on the property. But that was about it.

So, armed with Pat’s resource list, I set to work. And soon I was in far deeper than I anticipated. It turns out that the Matteson ancestors came over on the Oregon Trail, and were among the first white settlers in the Gaston area, so there was a lot of history to discover. I found myself examining census records from the 1860’s, cemetery inventories, and land patent records, all available online.  I checked out a book about the history of Gaston from my library, and even made a trip to the Pacific University historical archives to look at the proceedings of a 1973 symposium related to the construction of Scoggins Dam.

Eventually I was able to piece together as much as I could into a cohesive, semi-complete story, which I then sent to the distant cousin for fact checking. I learned that what is now the Matteson Forest had been parts of three separate land claims dating to the 1870’s. Over the next century these ownerships changed hands many times, from homesteaders and land speculators, to bank foreclosure during the Depression, to loggers and small farmers.

1909 ownership map of the Matteson Forest vicinity. Source: www.historicmapworks.com

Meanwhile the Mattesons who had come on the Oregon Trail staked claims elsewhere in the area, including where the town of Gaston is now situated. Eventually one branch of the family, Marion Matteson’s grandparents, operated a dairy farm on the Scoggins Valley flats. When the Scoggins Dam was built and farmers were bought out to make way for the reservoir, Marion Matteson and his brother started buying property upslope (including the current Matteson Forest) and transitioned from dairy to timber.

The history of the Matteson Tract will be included in the management plan for the property, which is currently in development. Having knowledge of the property’s past gives me and others involved with managing the Matteson Tract a new lens with which to view the land and frame our management decisions. We can deduce, for example, that the oldest timber stands on the property are second-growth, having regenerated naturally after early owners cleared the merchantable timber. These areas may have subsequently seen light use by the early homesteaders, perhaps for livestock ranging and firewood. On the other hand, the areas now occupied by medium-aged Douglas-fir plantations had been in pasture for decades. A rambling apple tree in a small clearing dates back to the earliest known homestead on the property, and may be 100 years old.

I admit I spent far too many hours developing this property history – once you’ve gone down the rabbit trail, it’s hard to pull yourself back out. But I consider it time well spent. On a personal note, I have been facing some serious health issues and this was the perfect project to distract me from reality for a while.  Perhaps you or another member of your woodland family are also in need of a distraction this winter. If so, I encourage you to dig into your own property history and record it for others in the future. You can find our resource list for getting started, along with the Cameron and Matteson Tract examples, on the Oregon Forest Management Planning website.

The post Exploring your property’s past: a trip back in time appeared first on TreeTopics.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Food Science Camp 2013 and Erik Fooladi

Bringing Food Chemistry to Life - Fri, 07/19/2013 - 12:44pm

We participate in the Oregon State U Food Science Camp for middle school students.

Part of the STEM [science technology engineering math] Academies@OSU Camps.

We teach about bread fermentations, yeast converting sugars to CO2 and ethanol, lactobacillus converting sugar to lactic and acetic acids, how the gluten in wheat can form films to trap the gas and  allow the dough to rise. On the way we teach about flour composition, bread ingredients and their chemical functionalities, hydration, the relationships between enzymes and substrates [amylases on starch to produce maltose for the fermentation organisms]; gluten development, the gas laws and CO2′s declining solubility in the aqueous phase during baking which expands the gas bubbles and leads to the oven spring at the beginning of baking; and the effect of pH on Maillard browning using soft pretzels that they get to shape themselves..

All this is illustrated by hands on [in] activities: they experience the hydration and the increasing cohesiveness of the dough as they mix it with their own hands, they see their own hand mixed dough taken through to well-risen bread. They get to experience dough/gluten development in a different context with the pasta extruder, and more and more.

A great way to introduce kids to the relevance of science to their day to day lives: in our case chemistry physics biochemistry and biology in cereal food processing.

We were also fortunate to have Erik Fooladi from Volda University College in Norway to observe the fun: http://www.fooducation.org/

If you have not read his blog and you like what we do here: you should!

 

endless pasta

 

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Good Cheese, Bad Cheese

Bringing Food Chemistry to Life - Wed, 07/10/2013 - 12:25pm

pH, colloidal calcium phosphate, aging, proteolysis, emulsification or its loss and their interactions lead to optimum melting qualities for cheeses. A module in this year’s food systems chemistry class.

This module was informed by this beautiful article “The beauty of milk at high magnification“ by Miloslav Kalab, which is available on the Royal Microscopical Society website.

http://www.rms.org.uk/Resources/Royal%20Microscopical%20Society/infocus/Images/TheBeautyOfMilk.pdf

Of course accompanied by real sourdough wholegrain bread baked in out own research bakery.

Inspired by…

“The Science of a Grilled Cheese Sandwich.”

by: Jennifer Kimmel

in: The Kitchen as Laboratory: Reflections on the Science of Food and Cooking

Edited by Cesar Vega, Job Ubbink, and Erik van der Linden

 

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

February 2011- Nutrition Education Volunteers taking “vacation”

Family Food Educators of Central Oregon - Tue, 02/01/2011 - 8:24am

I’m back from maternity leave and getting resettled into some new responsibilities.  We had a staff member leave us, so Glenda and I are having to pick up the work load until we find someone new, or our responsibilites change.  Being a new mom is lots of work too, so I’ve gone part time (24 hours aweek) but am still trying to get everything done… that being said, we’ve decided to put our nutrition education volunteering on hold, until I have a managable workload.

We look forward to being able to start things back up in the summer or fall of 2011.  Thanks so much and since a few of you have been asking, here’s a photo of our boy.  He is 5 months old today!

Bundled out in the cold!

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs